WW2 poetry

Discussion in 'General' started by Susan Smethurst, May 19, 2010.

  1. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    My daughter Alexandra is 13 a fine and happy grandaughter of tank commander on one side and Estonian war refugee on other. She has due respect for all this. She is doing war poetry at school and whilst I can give her any number of WW1 poems I have to say good WW2 poetry has escaped me. Any thoughts on this would be gratefully received. Particularly if any of our Veterans have ever given house room to any poetry (I know what my pa would have said...) I would love to know
     
  2. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    One of the most famous poems - written during WWII.

    The life that I have
    Is all that I have
    And the life that I have
    Is yours

    The love that I have
    Of the life that I have
    Is yours and yours and yours

    A sleep I shall have
    A rest I shall have
    Yet death will be but a pause

    For the peace of my years
    In the long green grass
    Will be yours and yours
    And yours

    The Life That I Have - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  3. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

  4. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    High Flight
    by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.


    Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

    Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

    Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things

    You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung

    High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,

    I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung

    My eager craft through footless halls of air.

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

    I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace

    Where never lark, or even eagle flew.

    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod

    The high untrespassed sanctity of space

    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gillespie_Magee,_Jr.
     
  5. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    Indeed it is Violette Szarbos code poem. Written by the man who sent her into the field Leo Marks

    See link

    Marks, Leo - Code Poem
     
  6. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    High Flight
    by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.


    Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

    Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

    Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things

    You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung

    High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,

    I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung

    My eager craft through footless halls of air.

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

    I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace

    Where never lark, or even eagle flew.

    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod

    The high untrespassed sanctity of space

    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gillespie_Magee,_Jr.


    That is beautiful. Glad my daughter has this project if only to find this
     
  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I'd definitely second Keith Douglas.
    One of the few poets I did at school that I enjoyed at the time, & still like.
     
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Susan thread below is very interesting

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/barracks/6748-war-poetry.html

    James Farrar
    A young RAF navigator who was killed while attempting to destroy a V1 .He was only 20 when he died.He was one of the most promising writers of his generation and his work was published in "The Unreturning Spring " in 1950.


    Poem from September 1940 (when he was 16) Written whilst watching dogfights during the Battle of Britain

    I walk endlessly, no clock drips by the hours,
    The burnished hedgerows, clotted and high,
    The still woods, the dead meadows, the closed flowers,
    Shrunken under that bright scarred sky.
    A light-play, as of sun on August leaves,
    A height-soft moan, a wooden intermittent rattle,
    And, as the scrollèd conflict eastward weaves,
    Feelers drooping darkly out of battle.
    They come slowly, soft tap-roots questing down,
    At the groping tip of one glisters a bead of light:
    I see them, like waterflies struggling not to drown,
    Soundlessly pass into earth, and meet night.
     
  9. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I write many war poems having taken part in the greatest battles.



    Les Fleurs de Normandie.


    On Norman soil, they fought and died.


    Now young men's graves in rows abound.


    In Mother Earth's arms, now sanctified,


    The fragrant flowers of our youth are found.


    And yet, to rise again, as in a distant song.


    Small voices that call, in dead of night.


    Fleeting figures only in our dreams belong.


    Alas, they fade, in dawn's bright light.


    I see them yet, a sad, forgotten throng.


    Shadowed, lost faces, marching on.


    Over dusty roads, and high golden corn.


    The call of long lost friends are borne.


    We must not forget, the flowers of our days,


    Lest they lay unquiet, in numbered graves.


    For we lived, and loved, and life was sweet.


    Still yet, for us, awaits our last retreat.


    Flowers of our youth, now long since past.


    Our sweet autumn days are fading fast.


    We, who are left, flowered in our prime.


    Enjoyed golden moments, on borrowed time.


    Remember our friends, who passed this way.


    For all our tomorrow's, they gave their today's,


    On Utah and Omaha, Juno, Sword and Gold.


    Oh! Dear Lord! See that they grow not old.


    Brian Guy.


    June. 1944/2010
    Dedicated to all those young men that never came home.


    I am Brian Guy, lately of 246 Field Company Royal Engineers. An Assaulting unit of the Third British Infantry Division; Monty’s Ironsides.


    From the Fields of Normandy I bring back many memories.


    Beneath them. I leave many friends,


    For they are;


    Les Fleurs de Normandie.


    The Flowers of Normandy
     
    STAN50 and ritsonvaljos like this.
  10. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Quietly! Quietly! Whisper my Name.

    So many long years ago I died, under Norman apple trees.
    But now my Spirit wanders, as a warm and gentle breeze.
    Hush! Quietly, Whisper my name, in that long forgotten place.
    Then feel the warmth of my Spirit, caress lightly on your face.

    For now, I am the jewelled Summer Lark, that soars on high.
    Bright in heavens concert hall, my song will fill the sky.
    I am the tumbling cloud’s that rise, to touch the face of Joy.
    No longer held by earthly bonds, a once young and vital boy.

    In an instant life was swept away, in a brutal savage war.
    Look not for me in Normandy, for I am there no more.
    I am the peace in woodland glades, in veiled cascades of green.
    Feel me close, in your times of joy, sensed, but never seen.

    Whisper my name, and hear my voice, in cascading woodland spring,
    Or England's flowered primrose banks, wherein the bluebells ring.
    Don’t mourn for me, quietly call my name, I'll visit in your dreams.
    And, fill your mind with the beauty, of heavens joyous scenes.

    Hush! Hush! Just whisper, quietly, call my name.
    Whisper quietly.

    Brian Guy.
     
    General Knowledge and Gage like this.
  11. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    I write many war poems having taken part in the greatest battles.



    Les Fleurs de Normandie.



    On Norman soil, they fought and died.


    Now young men's graves in rows abound.


    In Mother Earth's arms, now sanctified,


    The fragrant flowers of our youth are found.



    And yet, to rise again, as in a distant song.


    Small voices that call, in dead of night.


    Fleeting figures only in our dreams belong.


    Alas, they fade, in dawn's bright light.



    I see them yet, a sad, forgotten throng.


    Shadowed, lost faces, marching on.


    Over dusty roads, and high golden corn.


    The call of long lost friends are borne.



    We must not forget, the flowers of our days,


    Lest they lay unquiet, in numbered graves.


    For we lived, and loved, and life was sweet.


    Still yet, for us, awaits our last retreat.



    Flowers of our youth, now long since past.


    Our sweet autumn days are fading fast.


    We, who are left, flowered in our prime.


    Enjoyed golden moments, on borrowed time.



    Remember our friends, who passed this way.


    For all our tomorrow's, they gave their today's,


    On Utah and Omaha, Juno, Sword and Gold.


    Oh! Dear Lord! See that they grow not old.


    Brian Guy.


    June. 1944/2010

    Dedicated to all those young men that never came home.


    I am Brian Guy, lately of 246 Field Company Royal Engineers. An Assaulting unit of the Third British Infantry Division; Monty’s Ironsides.



    From the Fields of Normandy I bring back many memories.


    Beneath them. I leave many friends,


    For they are;


    Les Fleurs de Normandie.



    The Flowers of Normandy
    Thank you so much. I recall for ever my father Brian as padre 8th Army Association leading the words of remembrance in the wind and rain of Blackpool his body half paralysed from his last wounds at Saltou and knowing everyone there (including Rommel and Monty's sons standing side by side) knowing these were words truly meant.
     
  12. DoctorD

    DoctorD WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Susan, thank you for starting this thread.
    May it go from strength to strength,
    soaring on the endless breath of time,
    forever and always
    filling our hearts with in memoria rhyme.
    Les
     
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Susan I love this ...

    YouTube - Russian Poem - World at War Episode 11 - Red Star - WW2

    (Son to father…)

    Do not call me, father. Do not seek me. Do not call me. Do not wish me back.
    We're on a route uncharted, fire and blood erase our track.
    On we fly, on wings of thunder, never more to sheath our swords.
    All of us in battle fallen – not to be brought back by words.

    Will there be a rendezvous? I know not. I only know we still must fight.
    We are sand grains in infinity, never to meet, nevermore see light.

    (Father to son…)

    Farewell then my son. Farewell then my conscience.
    My youth, and my solace, my one and my only.
    And let this farewell be the end of a story
    Of solitude vast and which none is more lonely.

    In which you remain, barred forever and ever
    From light and from air, with your death pangs untold.
    Untold and unsoothed, not to be resurrected.
    Forever and ever, an 18 year old.

    Farewell then. No trains ever come from those regions
    Unscheduled or scheduled. No aeroplanes fly there.
    Farewell then my son, for no miracles happen,
    As in this world dreams do not come true.

    Farewell.

    I will dream of you still as a baby,
    Treading the earth with little strong toes,
    The earth where already so many lie buried.
    This song to my son, is come to its close.
     
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  14. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    As I may have bored a few of you-my father was an RTR Sqaudron 2i/c on D day to a fine soldier called Major Robert Crisp. His book "Brazen Chariots" dealing with Operation Crusader in late 1941 contains the following:-

    In the afternoon the leading tanks ran on to another anti-tank screen which this time the brigadier was content to engage with the 25 pounders. C squadron was not concerned in the afternoon performance and I took the opportunity to glance again at the papers I have found (in an abandoned Matilda tank earlier in the day). There were several sheets of poetry and had obviously been recently composed in the desert. This was one of them

    THE SHELL

    The silver scream comes nearer
    faster than wind
    faster than sound
    It is the song of a new born thing
    Singing her joy that she lives at last


    Her life is short, too short
    But joyous more than many million things
    She droops to die so soon
    For now she cries no more from joy
    But in her agony of death her scream has changed to one of fear


    She falls to earth
    -and theres a breathless hush upon the land
    For death is near

    For in this particle of tiny time
    Her fear is caught by those nearby
    And stomachs turn and fingers twitch
    And then within her agony of death she leaves the world

    She leaves it with a cry, a shout, a trumpet call
    That brings a terror to your heart
    And death flies all around

    Her grave stands open to the sky
    And there she lies together with
    the shattered limbs and bleedings mouth
    And eyes that never more shall see

    This poem was later found to be by Capt Browne RTR who was taken prisoner
     
  15. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Poem by a Mr Weber:

    We knew it was our last and only chance
    To leave that God forsaken bloodied beach
    Escaping from the shot up shore of France
    And the dread Stukas rattling reach
    Now at last we were safely all aboard
    That sturdy yacht The Sprite her timbers tight
    Her sails they slapped the rough sea rudely roared
    She'd to Englands bravely bear us that night
    Plus two hundred and fifty thousand men
    In more small boats than ever seen before
    Were taken from out that festering wen
    That was nineteen forties Dunkirk shore
    Brave Captains in whose doubtless courage lay
    Facility to fight another day
     
  16. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Would agree with Paul - this is one I am very fond of.

    El Alamein

    There are flowers now, they say, at El Alamein;
    Yes, flowers in the minefields now.
    So those that come to view that vacant scene,
    Where death remains and agony has been
    Will find the lilies grow ---
    Flowers, and nothing that we know.

    So they rang the bells for us and Alamein,
    Bells which we could not hear.
    And to those that heard the bells what could it mean,
    The name of loss and pride, El Alamein?
    --- Not the murk and harm of war,
    But their hope, their own warm prayer.

    It will become a staid historic name,
    That crazy sea of sand!
    Like Troy or Agincourt its single fame
    Will be the garland for our brow, our claim,
    On us a fleck of glory to the end;
    And there our dead will keep their holy ground.

    But this is not the place that we recall,
    The crowded desert crossed with foaming tracks,
    The one blotched building, lacking half a wall,
    The grey-faced men, sand-powdered over all;
    The tanks, the guns, the trucks,
    The black, dark-smoking wrecks.

    So be it; none but us has known that land;
    El Alamein will still be only ours
    And those ten days of chaos in the sand.
    Others will come who cannot understand,
    Will halt beside the rusty minefield wires
    And find there, flowers.
     
  17. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Like others on this thread I am a great admirer of Keith Douglas and have recited his poems on various occasions. Douglas was a tank commander in the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry during the later stages of the North African campaign (described in his classic memoir 'Alamein to Zem Zem'). He was killed by a mortar bomb in Normandy on 9th June 1944. I read one of his last works, 'Soldiers Waiting in the Wings of Europe' at his graveside on our 2001 School Battlefields tour. Two of his greatest poems, 'Aristocrats' and 'Vergissmeinicht' ('Forget-Me-Not') were written about the North African Campaign. 'Vergissmeinicht' was read on a recent edition of Radio 4's 'Poetry Please' and praised by Roger McGough as one of the finest poems in English written during the war.

    Vergissmeinnicht


    Three weeks gone and the combatants gone
    returning over the nightmare ground
    we found the place again, and found
    the soldier sprawling in the sun.

    The frowning barrel of his gun
    overshadowing. As we came on
    that day, he hit my tank with one
    like the entry of a demon.

    Look. Here in the gunpit spoil
    the dishonoured picture of his girl
    who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht.
    in a copybook gothic script.

    We see him almost with content,
    abased, and seeming to have paid
    and mocked at by his own equipment
    that's hard and good when he's decayed.

    But she would weep to see today
    how on his skin the swart flies move;
    the dust upon the paper eye
    and the burst stomach like a cave.

    For here the lover and killer are mingled
    who had one body and one heart.
    And death who had the soldier singled
    has done the lover mortal hurt.

    Keith Douglas
     
  18. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

  19. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I write all my own. This is a recent dedication Susan.

    The Comradeship of Death.

    After the hurricane of war has passed. There are no friends or foe.
    Amongst the grotesque figures of the dead, no poppies ever grow.
    For in that comradeship of death, wherein the mangled bodies lay,
    Uniforms of khaki and grey, lay silent. Patiently waiting for decay.


    Around the shell and mortar holes, in the killing zone they wait.
    The trials of all the young men, now war has decided on their fate.
    Pictures of family and children, mouldering and rotting in the rain.
    At home the loss of loved ones, the agony of grieving, and of pain.


    The comradeship of death has no enemies, for all of that is past.
    Now they lay in a deathly hush. for them, peace has come at last.
    Amongst the hedgerows, sad, but familiar khaki shapes are found.
    Mother nature reclaims her sons, as they melt back in the ground.


    Over the years their lost voices call “Remember me, call my name”
    We are the brotherhood of death. of the land from whence we came
    On short dark Summer nights, listen! hear the lonely voices call,
    Beneath the Earth, the soft warm earth we lie, for now it is our pall.


    When all the tears are shed, we still remain: the comradeship of death
    Freedom is won by sacrifices. by men who fight, till that final breath.
    No enemy has walked here upon, the beauty of Britain’s sacred Land.
    Freedoms a gift, from the comradeship of deaths glorious heroic band.

    Brian Guy October 2009

     
     
     
     
     
     
  20. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Here are a selection of poems etc from a special compilation edition of SPEARHEAD, British 1 Corps Newsletter (published between D+5 and VE Day)

    194009-020619.jpg
    DocFile (2) - Copy.jpg
    DocFile (2).jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019

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